How Cæsar Became a Demagogue
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How Cæsar Became a Demagogue book
The conspiracy of 66, the agitation for the conquest of Egypt, his bribery and indebtedness, and the suspicions aroused by his coalition with Crassus had all reacted unfavourably on Cæsar's reputation. He had alienated the support of many who had previously admired him and were disappointed to see him giving way to the temptations of political intrigue. The ideal of his youthful ambition had now lost its appeal. It was but only too manifest that the Aristotelian harmony between aristocracy and democracy was an impracticable dream. The well-to-do classes, preoccupied with their financial embarrassment and disgusted by a succession of futile or dangerous political agitations, were becoming indifferent or even Conservative in their political views: while the popular party was seeking its supporters deeper down amongst the dregs of the Roman population—amongst the bankrupt landlords and merchants of Italy and disappointed and desperate outcasts from all classes of society. There began to be talk of Land Laws, of the abolition of debt, of confiscating the plunder of the generals, and other revolutionary measures for the relief of the poor. As a reaction against this development, the small clique to which the great Conservative party seemed now to be reduced, professed sentiments of the utmost fury and contempt against their opponents: though it had no more hopeful items in its own programme than the antiquated expedients of massacre, execution and coups d'état.